Pie of the Week: Butterscotch Maple Walnut Three Layer Pie

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[Photograph: Sarah Baird]

Justin Timberlake: A wildly popular Mouseketeer, this national treasure started his career carrying on the decades-old traditions of Annette Funicello. He was a teenage heartthrob with (regrettably) frosted hair and the indisputable leader of a boy band revolution. While other teen pop icons fell by the wayside or combusted before our very eyes, he blossomed into a dapper, tuxedo-clad gentleman, proving himself as an actor, funny guy, and dude who can seriously cut a rug while hitting a falsetto high note.

And if anyone has ever dared to doubt JT's status as a modern day renaissance man and all-American boy, look no further than the recently publicity surrounding his status as budding baker and pie aficionado. Not only does Mr. Timberlake apparently know his way around a rolling pin, he learned all his skills from helping his grandmother, Sadie, in the kitchen. (Insert a collective, "aw!" here.) According to lore, one of Justin's specialties is a three layer pie, which he adapted from his grandmother's traditional chocolate into a butterscotch treat. While my three layer maple butterscotch pie may not have the Timberlake stamp of approval, the combination of butterscotch, maple, and walnut is sure to satisfy anyone down in the dumps about missing a cabne a sucre fete.

(Also, Justin, if you're reading this, I'd be more than happy to swap recipe cards with you any time.)

When making the baked layer of a three layer pie, constant stirring is key to ensuring that the mixture doesn't begin to burn or darken too quickly in spots: a uniform, caramel color is the desired result. A double boiler could be used instead of a small saucepan if your stove top has a tendency to heat unevenly, or if you'd like to take extra care not to burn the filling.

Once the first layer has baked, waiting for it to cool completely is crucial to the pie's success. I was incredibly impatient during my first attempt at making this pie and I waited for it to only partially cool, which resulted in the second layer oozing into a maple mess. In order to be safe, double your regular cooling time.

The true pièce de résistance within this pie is the black walnut whipped cream. While it may take some hunting to find walnut extract (you can also purchase it online here), the nutty bite and unexpected earthy undertone it adds to an otherwise incredibly sweet pie ensures a proper balancing act of flavors, and helps to pick up the traces of walnut in the pie crust.

While most pies are best within a couple of days of baking, this pie is absolutely at its peak on the day of creation, so don't feel guilty about taking that extra helping.

Get the Recipe

Butterscotch Maple Walnut Three Layer Pie »

About the author: Sarah Baird is a writer, editor, and petit four aficionado living in New Orleans, Louisiana. She likes planning elaborate dinner parties surrounded by her collection of dwarf citrus trees. You can read her latest musings and about her various misadventures on her website: hellosarahbaird.com or follow her on Twitter: @scbaird.

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